Neighbour killer on the loose: Seven prisoners now at large after brutal murderer breaks his release conditions
A savage killer who bludgeoned his neighbour to death has been declared unlawfully at large after breaking his curfew while on temporary release from prison.
Patrick Byers (29) was given a 12-year sentence in 2005 for the murder of his neighbour Ciaran Kelly (35).
Byers and his brother John beat Mr Kelly to death in front of his girlfriend at their north Belfast flat.
Mr Kelly and his partner had only moved into the flat three days before the attack in March 2003.
Delivering judgment in 2005, Mr Justice Coghlin said that the murder of Mr Kelly was "brutal, persistent and unremittingly violent".
Byers and his brother John were high on a cocktail of drink, cannabis and Diazepam when they kicked, struck and stamped their new neighbour to death.
Mr Kelly's partner Karen McSorley was also punched and knocked unconscious during the lethal attack.
Both Mr Kelly and Ms McSorley were rushed to hospital, where she was treated for head injuries.
Her boyfriend died a short time later.
After the Byers brothers were convicted, Ms McSorley condemned the sentences as too lenient.
"They didn't just murder Kieran, they horrifically slaughtered him," she said at the time.
Last night, a Prison Service spokesperson said: "A life sentence prisoner, Patrick Byers, on Phase 3 of the release scheme, which involves living at home, has failed to observe curfew regulations and has been posted as unlawfully at large."
Patrick Byers is described as around 5ft 8ins tall, of slim build with blue eyes and fair hair.
He also has a 'Marie' tattoo on his lower right arm.
Prison authorities are urging anyone who may have seen Byers to contact police or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
There are currently seven people on the run from Northern Ireland prisons.
On Christmas Eve, 53-year-old Samuel McKinley failed to return while on a pre-release work scheme.
He remains at large.